About the Contributors #9

September 4, 2015 § Leave a comment

For a few titles the photographers were also the contributing poets or writers.

Sally Mann, authored entirely by Sally Mann, includes her provocative introduction, early poetry and photographs which were made prior to the many published books that follow her career. A livre d’artiste first from the 21st Editions Collection.

Measurement has become useless
there in the peak, lush summer.

The winds call out the distances
and the fast clouds sound out the heights,
dive for the great, rolling dark
of the hills, weigh with the balance
and pull of the water, condense
on the wineglass perfection of elm.


A rare look into a piece of Louisiana history. Metoyer’s poetry and photographs are autobiographical and show an unusual blend of talents by one artist. Metoyer not only conceptualized the images that reflect his history and creative mind, he too wrote the poetry and printed four different processes for this book: platinum, palladium, cyanotype, and kalitype. Celebrated in 2008 as our 10th anniversary title for 21st Editions, it was acquired and resides in 13 collecting institutions in the U.S

Augured by the planets’ gravitational whirl,
Madame Zuzuska spoke to him of omens.
She ciphered his numbers,
whispered he was born
on the cusp of a fateful day.
“Decline, my child. Anguish and decline.”
Then the blackened cloud of prophecy
loomed in the pupils of her apostle’s eyes
as Zuzuska warned of his life’s maddening gyre
and the destructive seduction
of a swelling lunar cycle.
Now, every stubbed toe,
every unanswered call,
every initial sliver
of the phosphorescent moon
transforms to premonitions
of grisly things to come.


Jamie Baldridge’s unique talent marries a short story and fictional journal entries from a character whose artistry as an image maker is unlike his peers. Authored and printed by the artist, academics and historians focused on this for their collections as a piece of great inventive literature, new technology image making, and binding made from patina’d brass.

“Sometime around noon, for I still had not the capacity for counting the Gear Shifts to tell time, I found myself hopelessly lost in the candle lit warrens below the Arcadian Convent. After what felt like hours of switchbacks and dead ends, I began to panic and surrendering to my fears fell into the first open door I found, unintentionally interrupting the work of a lovely scribe occupied with quite the longest scroll I had ever seen. I vainly attempted to salvage what was left of my pride, and after dusting myself off politely asked where I might find the Mother Superior’s offices. The girl continued to work as if I were not there. Before I could make my inquiry again, this time perhaps in a more desperate timbre, a gentle, but firm hand grasped my shoulder and a voice somewhere near my navel said, “We really shouldn’t disturb her.”


Each of the 16 artist printed silver prints in Crowd (comes as a two-book set with Shadows of the Dream) is accompanied by a poem by Latvian artist Misha Gordin. Each book in the set is bound with multiple leather in-lays that echo back to early European livre d’artiste design.

In a unity of dream and reality
From the darkest corners of the heart
Like a shadow from the murky past
Emerges a call for a lonely prayer.


#7/16: An International Year

April 25, 2014 § Leave a comment

21st Editions is now celebrating sixteen years of The Art of the Book! In this series of sixteen emails we are sharing with you a chronology of highlights, events and stories from the beginning of our unique publishing endeavor up until now. We hope you enjoy them.


Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil)

John Wood suggested to Eikoh Hosoe that we pair his work with the poet, Charles Baudelaire, and Eikoh told John that Baudelaire was his favorite poet. They each initially selected 11 poems–9 of them matched! Eikoh, John, and I spent a full day, as John Stevenson hosted us at his then Platinum Gallery in Chelsea, for the signing ritual of the platinum prints and the colophon pages. Eikoh was methodical in signing all of his prints. He would sign for an hour and then close his eyes for 15 minutes or so. It was a real dance and an honor to watch. I admire him and his demeanor, which is not unlike what I would expect if I were to meet the Buddha. In fact, I believe I did.


The Sonnets of Shakespeare

Flor Garduño does not speak English. I do not speak Spanish. So working with each other was a new challenge, even though we had a translator. This edition was three years in the making and contains many of Flor’s greatest images.


Crowd and Shadows of the Dream

This set of books further challenged our standards of production. After printing all of the books letterpress with metal type and spending three days with Misha Gordin at the Hotel Northampton signing the mounts for the silver prints he made, the binder contacted us with a concern about very faint yellow fibers in the European made 100% cotton paper noticeable only if held up to the sunlight. While it seemed insignificant at the time, we had no way of knowing if whatever this was could migrate further. After meeting with a representative from the paper mill and bringing our own chemist in, and then months of further deliberation, we realized that we could not determine whether it was a problem or not. So, I decided that we had no choice but to start over again. And, even though it cost us tens of thousands of dollars, we have been able to sleep at night ever since.  


The Shining Path

John Wood’s pairing of Brigitte Carnochan and Raúl Peschiera embellished our diverse offerings. Brigitte Carnochan’s personally printed silver gelatin prints and Raúl Peschiera’s epic poem of love, revolution, and violence in recent Peruvian history blends the life and loves of failed revolutionary Abimael Guzmán, the founder of Sendero Luminoso, the Shining Path. Peschiera depicts him as both the passionate revolutionary and the passionate lover. Carnochan, one of the greatest photographers of both flowers and women, takes on beauty as her subject and theme. The result is a book of intense beauty–one that interweaves the floral and the feminine within the context of love and political passion. The book comes with one of Carnochan’s original, classic hand-colored prints.

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